Timothy Bloom on Being ‘Naked’ and ‘Life Without Music’
Timothy Bloom is as talented as he is good looking -- and that's saying something. Charming as this combination may be, Bloom manages to remain humble. Raised in his father's church in Fayetteville, N.C., his musical style is influenced by the gospel music he was immersed in as a child, and rock's secular greats -- including Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix -- whom he discovered during a period of adolescent rebellion. The result of this amalgamation of influences is a sound that you'd be hard-pressed to define with traditional genre labels.
The multi-talented musician admittedly feels "naked" on stage without his guitar, but had no problem stripping down to his birthday suit and showing off his ripped body in a beautifully simple video for his single, 'Til the End of Time' featuring V. Bozeman. As the video generates buzz for Bloom and his debut album, 'Life Without Music,' set for a June 2011 release, he is no industry newbie. He released the EP, 'The Budding Rose,' earlier this month, won a Grammy for Ne-Yo's 'Say It,' and already has collaborations with the legendary Smokey Robinson and a production cred on Chris Brown's new album 'F.A.M.E.' under his belt. A seasoned vet, it's now Bloom's solo career that deserves the limelight.
Tell us about how you got started in music.
I started at a very early age in music. My dad had a church. I started playing the drums and piano at church, and guitar at a very young age. When I was a little kid, we couldn't listen to secular music. All we could listen to was gospel. My mom and my dad are from Mississippi, so we listened to a lot of country gospel. Then later on, my first secular album ever was Bob Dylan. I love Cat Stevens. I listened to a lot of Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway. There's a wide range of musical influences that I've been inspired by.
How old were you when you listened to Dylan and what did your parents think of that?
I was 11 or 12. And they didn't know. I ran away. I used to steal their keys and run away to the car and turn on the radio and scan through the stations. I was the troublemaker in the family.
Are your parents supportive of your career now?
Yeah, they're very supportive now for sure. My dad, seeing that video ['Til the End of Time'], I can't say it on film, but his first reaction was, "Oh, that's a lot of ass!" And my mom, she loves it, like, "Wow, that's my son," and they've both become very supportive of my career. They like to see me happy.
So, let's talk about that video. Was that your idea?
Yeah, it was, unfortunately! The idea for the video came from the song, and the song was written when I was in a place where I could embrace death. At that moment I took that negative energy and made it positive and wrote 'Til the End of Time' with V. Bozeman, who was in the right place at the right time. And I just picked up my guitar and there was a song, and days later I caught her and said, "I think we should shoot a video and we should be in the nude." And she says "OK!" So, it was a 12-hour shoot. We weren't nude the whole time, we had little pasties on. We captured a great moment.
Watch Timothy Bloom's Video for 'Til the End of Time' feat. V. Bozeman
Did you do anything to get psyched up for the shoot?
Wine. Just had some wine and calmed down. And you know, looking into her beautiful eyes, it's hard to look away. So, there were moments that were amazing.
Is it hard for you to watch now?
No. There are comments about the video, and that is what's really touching me, like "There's hope for love again," and that the video is iconic. And there's this one comment where this lady talks about her husband passing away and after the video, this is the first time she's felt free. It made me cry actually. It's very touching to hear what people have to say about it, good and bad.
What music are you listening to now?
I still stick with the old school stuff. I listen to a lot of folk like Fleet Foxes, classical. I'm all over the place. It just depends on the mood.
Does spirituality still play a big role in your life?
Yeah, it plays a very big role. It has to. You have to be spiritually fulfilled in order to maintain a level of sanity in this business, because it will definitely ruin you. It will break you if you're not prepared spiritually.
Your debut album is just now coming out, but you've been in this business for a while.
Yeah. I've been doing it since I was 17 years old. I went to Germany for a little bit and toured around there. I've worked with artists like Smokey Robinson, which was amazing with bold letters -- amazing! I won a Grammy with Ne-Yo. Now I've got a record with Chris Brown on his album. The LP's coming out sometime this year. The EP, 'The Budding Rose,' is out and that's very exciting. It's been a long road.
Did Smokey give you any advice?
His energy is just wisdom. Everything that projects out of that man's soul is just like, wow! We recorded two full songs in 45 minutes. That's how amazing that man is. There were probably a couple of times where I had to say, "Smokey, that sounds flat." And I had to catch myself like, "Did I just tell Smokey he was flat?"
Do you do your own instrumentation?
Yes. Everything on the EP is written and produced by me. And as of right now, everything for the album as well, but I'm sure there will be collaborations, like with Timbaland.
Who is on your collaborations wish list?
Bono. If Jimi Hendrix was still alive, I would definitely want to work with him. We would do a song called 'Dirty Water' or something like that.